UCCS, Colorado Springs at forefront of cybersecurity initiative expansion

Governor Hickenlooper speaks at the gubernatorial debate in fall 2014. Archives | The Scribe
Governor Hickenlooper speaks at the gubernatorial debate in fall 2014.
Archives | The Scribe
Feb. 8, 2016

Halle Thornton
[email protected]

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced on Jan. 15 at the State of the State Address that Colorado Springs would be the home of a planned National Cybersecurity Intelligence Center.

This would mean that Colorado Springs would be the country’s leading authority on cyber security, research development and training.

Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers and chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak both attended the address. The former TRW plant, near campus, is a likely location for the center, according to The Gazette.

“Any business, educational institution and health center are concerned about cyber security,” Shockley-Zalabak said.

Cybersecurity classes are offered through the Department of Engineering and can be taken by any student as long as they meet the prerequisite requirements.

UCCS has one undergraduate computer science degree, one masters and one doctoral program.

“This is our new world and a new dimension in our lives,” said Shockley-Zalabak.

Computer science professor Edward Chow has worked closely with the cybersecurity program at UCCS since 2000.

“I found that a lot of system design can be applied to cyber security,” said Chow.

Ten years ago, they had enough experts in the area to start the Ph.D. program in computer science with an emphasis in security.

When the program began, there were two to three Ph.D. students in the field, according to Chow.

Now, there are more than 30.

“Colorado Springs has a heavy concentration of cybersecurity professionals. The Air Force Base and Cyber Command Center are supported by quite a few local industries and big companies in Colorado Springs,” Chow said.

Chow is the advisor for the student club Peak Chaos, which started eight years ago, and prepares members for competitions in cybersecurity such as the iCTF Cyber War Competition sponsored by University of California at Santa Barbara.

Students spend an entire day protecting their programs and attempting to crash their opponent’s programs.

In 2014, the UCCS team placed 16th among 125 teams from around the world and fourth among the teams in the U.S.

The club meets on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in Osborne Center A208. Students who are interested can contact Chow at [email protected].